What My Elderly Dog Has Taught Me About Life

My chocolate lab Hazel has been by my side since I was eight years old. She’s honestly been such an important factor in my life and has contributed so much to how I’ve grown and developed over the years. My dog is truly my best friend, and I’m so grateful for her wonderful presence and all of the valuable things it’s taught me so far.

People come and go, but you’ll survive. 

Honestly, my dog has been the most constant companion in my life. Throughout elementary, middle and high school, I lost so many friends and ended so many different relationships. Sometimes, I felt like losing people was the end of the world for me. It’s never easy to let go of someone you hold dear to you, but my dog’s constant presence through all of the losses has taught me that loss is inevitable and can ultimately be dealt with. She’s been my literal shoulder to cry on and has cheered me up no matter who’s exited my life.

Sometimes, a nice sunbathe is all you need to be happy.

Watching my dog maniacally roll around whenever a patch of sun hits her has taught me that the sun truly does have therapeutic properties. Holding your face towards the sun and feeling a little warmth on your skin can really brighten up a sour mood. It’s the little, natural things in life that we can use to make ourselves feel genuinely happy.

Being cute will only take you so far. 

Hazel is a sweet and cute angel, but that doesn’t mean she gets away with being naughty! Watching her mischievous ways and seeing how she tries to “cute” her way out of trouble has taught me that being adorable can be important, but it won’t always save you. Looks aren’t everything! 

It’s okay to be weird sometimes. 

If I’m being honest, my dog can be a little weird at times. She does this crazy and creepy thing where she bares all of her teeth and lays upside-down in the grass so that you’ll pet her belly. Hazel has an extremely weird way of expressing herself, but if anything, it’s made me love and appreciate her even more. Her quirky personality has taught me that you don’t have to be normal, being strange is totally lovable, too! 

Impressions are important. 

Hazel is always dressed to impress, and that includes sporting her knitted turtleneck from time-to-time. She’s taught me that having a fashionable appearance can truly work wonders. Because of her, I always try my best to make sure that I’m dressed and ready to make amazing first impressions. Although I’m not sure my outfit choices will ever be as stylish as hers. 

Always party like it’s your birthday. 

Hazel is always ready for a good time. Her willingness to always have fun and be excited about anything has shown me that life is essentially a giant party. It’s important to be joyful over the little things in life just as much as the big things and, honestly, anything even mildly exciting is worth celebrating!  

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

If Hazel wants something, she has no problem letting you know. She’ll just stand extremely close to you and stare directly into your soul until you become uncomfortable and give her what she wants. My dog has taught me that if I want something in life, I need to be ready to go after it and demand it, no matter how silly I may look or feel. 

Always hug your friends.

I think the most important thing Hazel has taught me is that cuddles and clinginess aren’t always a bad thing. You can really show someone how much you love them just with a hug. My dog has taught me to always hug my friends a little tighter.

All images courtesy of Sophia Akel.

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